REDDISH EGRET: INSIGHT INTO ECOLOGY AND BEHAVIOR OF NORTH AMERICA’S RAREST HERON
Presented by Dr. Clay Green, Texas State University


In 2006, the US Fish and Wildlife Service published a species status report for the Reddish Egret (Egretta rufescens), the first status review of the species in 15 years. From that report, it was evident that knowledge gaps on the ecology and limiting factors of the species remained. Since 2006, we have conducted research in Texas and various parts of the species’ range on 1) movement ecology, 2) nesting and foraging ecology, 3) juvenile and adult survival and 4) genetic differentiation and gene flow.
This presentation will include the evolution of plumage coloration in birds, especially in plumage dimorphic species such as Reddish Egrets (Egretta rufescens), along with the evolutionary and ecological significance of sociality in birds and mammals and the effects of sociality in foraging, territoriality and reproductive behavior.



M. Clay Green is a Professor within the Department of Biology, Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas. His dissertation research focused on the ecological significance of plumage coloration in herons and egrets. Since then, he has been involved in various aspects of waterbird research including the ecology and evolution of plumage dimorphism, evaluation of colonial waterbird survey techniques, and the ecology and conservation of several waterbird species including Reddish Egrets, Green Herons, Little Blue Herons, Black Rails, American White Pelicans and American Oystercatchers. Since 2000, he has published numerous peer-reviewed publications, written the status report for the Reddish Egret and co-chaired the Working Group for Reddish Egret, and given numerous presentations at professional meetings and for local groups. Clay’s research is primarily focused in the U.S., Caribbean and Mexico. He has also served as Councilor on the Executive Council of the Waterbird Society and currently serves as Vice-President for the society. Department of Biology, 601 University Drive, Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas 78666, USA, 1 512-245-8037, claygreen@txstate.edu